It’s a new school year in Michigan. What’s the biggest issue at your school?

A woman teacher leads her classroom during a lesson, a student in the foreground raising their hand amongst other students in the class.
Monday is the first day of school in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and a number of other districts in metro Detroit. (Nic Antaya for Chalkbeat)

Over the next few weeks, students in school districts and charter schools across Michigan will return to the classroom for the 2023-24 school year. Some have already started.

At Chalkbeat Detroit, our team of reporters and editors began preparing for the new school year weeks ago, with discussions about our reporting and engagement priorities. 

Our work isn’t done though. We need input from our readers, because you are often the eyes and ears that help us ensure that our reporting is relevant and captures the voices of those who have the most at stake in decisions made at the district and state levels. 

We’ll continue to home in on chronic absenteeism, which is a problem not just in Detroit — where many district and charter schools have high rates of students missing school — but also across Michigan. 

Last school year, we reported on how persistent transportation woes have fueled absenteeism. We also took a look at a Michigan law that punishes poor parents for their children’s absenteeism by withholding public assistance. Recently, we shared some promising news: The chronic absenteeism rate in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which soared to around 77% at the height of the pandemic, declined during the last school year. And soon, we’ll provide an inside look at one school’s quest to reduce its high chronic absenteeism rate.

The Chalkbeat Detroit team is ready to hear what education issues are important to our readers. Our Detroit-based team, clockwise from far left, are Hannah Dellinger, K-12 reporter; Emiliana Sandoval, managing editor for style and standards; Ethan Bakuli, Detroit schools reporter; Elaine Cromie, photo editor; Krishnan Anantharaman, story editor; and Lori Higgins, bureau chief. (Chalkbeat photo)

We’ll also be keeping an eye on how students are affected as federal COVID relief dries up in school districts across the country. We’ve already covered how that has played out in DPSCD, which made painful budget cuts in the spring. We’ll also be monitoring continued efforts to help students recover from the pandemic.

Please take a few minutes to take the survey below and share your thoughts on what you’re most interested in, what questions you have, and what topics need more coverage. Your feedback is invaluable to us.

This isn’t your only opportunity to reach out. You can contact the bureau anytime at detroit.tips@chalkbeat.org.

If you are having trouble viewing this form, go here.

Lori Higgins is the bureau chief at Chalkbeat Detroit. You can reach her at lhiggins@chalkbeat.org.

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